“To be free, we will have to take the world back from the pharaohs. It won’t be hard. They’re not expecting it – but even if they were, they’d be helpless to stop it.” ~ Daniel Quinn
My idea of “relaxing” over the summer: doing maintenance work with my nephew cleaning apartments while working out details of some code that will return prime factors of positive integer x.
My nephew has been exposed to the Kantian/Schopenhauerian ideality of space and time. I could see his enthusiasm for wondering about life intensify as I explained to him that "time" and "space" are FUNCTIONS of our brains – perceptions, sensations … and that the so-called "objective world" scientists believe in is actually a representation of our being (the thing-in-itself). Our heads are in the world, but the world is in our heads. The fact that this is our last day working together (doing maintenance work) becomes significant when one considers the nature of our Chautauqua and the chaotic directions we have been moving in this summer. We have been obsessed with discovering a fairly simple way for human beings (without the assistance of a computer) to determine whether or not a number is prime.
While I sense some people in my monkey sphere are genuinely happy to see me have this long awaited opportunity to flex my brain power at the Church of Reason (State University), Jose S____ may feel some resentment toward me, like I am getting a free ride or something. It has to do with Jose’s comment, “So what you’re telling me is that, even though I can’t afford to send my kids to college, I have to pay for you to go to college? That’s fucked up.”
Again, here the pittance it costs to send someone to college causes people to feel bitterness while the fact that so many pay 40% of their taxes for imperialistic wars doesn’t cause them to flinch. They are even willing to encourage their children to join the military. Do they realize that the federal government invests one million dollars per year for each soldier? Now THAT’s fucked up!
So there have been those who loved me as long as I was down and out or when I was in a cage, but should I catch a break and be permitted to wrack my brains on hard science and what not, then they want to curse me. I don’t get it. What a nasty species! I want to try to wrap my mind around the base nature of human psychology. Only then will I be able to comprehend how my smile might invite scorn, while my hard luck invites compassion. Will those in my monkey-sphere only love me when I am crying tears? If I were to rise, would those in my monkey-sphere turn on me? Is that what the proverb, “Nothing good can come out of Nazareth,” means?
Is this the tyranny of public opinion Bertrand Russell write about? The insomnia may be caused by a major crash I am experiencing. I went so high with the excitement about living in New Brunswick on my own while attending Rutgers University full time … so high … but the bitter reality of hateful mixed up feelings towards me has gotten me down. I have to detach from the opinions others have of me. My emotional well-being demands I do so!
Some of the doors that have been closed on me for the past fifteen years, since 1985, are now suddenly opening. While appreciate the warm wishes of those who love me, this is just as vain as to be wounded by the curses of those who hate me. All vanity.
At this point, I will flash into the future a bit to provide an answer to these hard questions. The hyperlinks will be left as is, for now. Consider it a footnote.
Amazing how it still speaks to me today …
I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. As they could not reach me, they resolved to lock up my body. I saw that the State was half-witted, and I lost all my remaining respect for it.
In order to help me transcend my social reality, I have been doing some research about public opinion. My goal is to resist spontaneous violence and to keep from becoming embittered.
William Blake (1757-1827) was able to overcome the bad effects of mental isolation since he never doubted that he was right and his critics wrong. His attitude toward public opinion is expressed in these lines:
The only man that e’er I knew
Who did not make me almost spew
Was Fuseli: he was both Turk and Jew
And so, dear Christian friends, how do you do?
Who has this degree of force in their inner life?
A person brought up in Smalltown, USA finds himself from early youth surrounded by hostility to everything that is necessary for mental excellence. Very few people can be happy unless their way of life and their outlook on the world is approved by those with whom they live. A person with given convictions may find himself an outcast in one set of people, although in another set of people this person would be accepted.
Through ignorance a great deal of unnecessary misery is endured. This mental isolation is not merely a source of pain, but it also wastes a tremendous amount of energy just to maintain mental independence against hostile surroundings. This hostility will produce a certain timidity in following out ideas to logical conclusions.
Some way must be found by which the tyranny of public opinion can be evaded, and by which members of the intelligent minority can come to know each other and enjoy each other’s society.
Bertrand Russell wrote:
Unnecessary timidity makes the trouble worse than it need be. If you show you are afraid of the herd, you give promise of good hunting, whereas if you show indifference, they begin to doubt their own power and therefore tend to let you alone. Gradually it may become possible to acquire the position of licensed lunatic, to whom things are permitted which in another man would be thought unforgivable. Conventional people are roused to fury by departures from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves. They will pardon much unconventionality in a man who has enough friendliness to make it clear, even to the stupidest, that he is not engaged in criticizing them. This method of escaping censure is, however, impossible to many of those whose tastes and opinions cause them to be out of sympathy with the herd.
Hence, we become uncomfortable and lacking in good humor. It is customary to assume that, when a person is out of harmony with their environment, the cause must lie in some psychological disorder (morbidity, misanthropy, anti-social, etc.,). This is a complete mistake!
Often, nothing but intelligence is required to cause one to be out of sympathy with the herd.
Bertrand Russell wrote:
To be out of harmony with one’s surroundings is of course a misfortune, but it is not always a misfortune to be avoided at all costs. Where the environment is stupid or prejudiced or cruel, it is a sign of merit to be out of harmony with it. It is not desirable that the social sense should be so strongly developed as to cause people with “dangerous thoughts” to fear the social hostility which their opinions may provoke.
So, how does one escape social persecution? Suppose we are at the mercy of ignorant people who consider themselves capable of judging in matters about which they know nothing?
Bertrand Russell wrote:
Many people who have ultimately escaped from the tyranny of ignorance have had so hard a fight and so long a time of repression that in the end they are embittered and their energy is impaired. In general, there is too much respect paid to the opinions of others. One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.
I am astonished when I become annoyed and pained by any slight or disregard. How can we diminish the sadistic pleasure which the conventional at present derive from having the unconventional at their mercy? Fear of public opinion is oppressive. Standing on the shoulders of giants, I reach deep into my arsenal of coping mechanisms, stored in my brain under the header, “Defending Oneself Against Harmful Semantic Reactions.”
People think too much about the opinion which others form of them; although this opinion is not essential to happiness. What we are for other people is in the sphere of their consciousness, not ours; it is the kind of figure we make in their eyes, together with the thoughts which this arouses. But this is something that has no direct and immediate existence for us, but can affect us only mediately and indirectly. What goes on in other people’s consciousness is a matter of indifference to us; and in time we get really indifferent to it, when we come to see how superficial and futile are most people’s thoughts, how narrow their ideas, how mean their sentiments, how perverse their opinions, and how much of error there is in most of them; when we learn by experience how the greatest minds will meet with nothing but slight from half-a-dozen blockheads, we shall understand that to lay great value upon what other people say is to pay them too much honor.
A man is in a bad way who seeks happiness in public opinion.
How many people devout their lives to raising themselves in the estimation of others? I hear people “work very hard every day” so that they might one day be someone. Do they assume the intelligent progressively educated bum is not someone? Perhaps the new chiefs are waiting for us in the streets.
Anyway, the desire to be someone, to have social status, is really this erroneous thinking, this idea of honor, duty, and BEING SOMEONE SPECIAL (a hard worker who earned the right to live, who can afford the COST OF LIVING). What is at the root of this common error, this living life to merely cast an “admirable” picture of oneself into the heads of others?
Is it the result of civilization and social arrangements?
The king enjoys leisure, but the non-working peasant is considered “lazy”; people are proud of themselves when they make a good impression on their masters. They resent those who stand up to their own masters.
We find in schemes for training humanity the maintenance and strengthening of the feeling of honor.
This slavish regard for what other people will say is a very convenient instrument in the hands of those who have the control of the masses. The natural order of the universe seems to be reversed by fear of public opinion and this foolish concept of honor.
Setting value on what other people think instead of what goes on in their own consciousness is foolish. Regarding the opinions of others as real existence and their own consciousness as something shadowy, people turn the secondary (the derivative) into the primary (the principal).
AGAIN: How can the picture we present to the world be more important than our own subjective inner life?
This folly is called vanity – the term for that which has no solid or intrinsic value.
This attention to other people’s attitude may be regarded as a kind of universal mania which every one inherits. Our feeling of self-importance is mortified because it is so morbidly sensitive to what others may say. Envy and hatred are traceable to this morbid sensitivity.
So, how do we go about reducing the impulse to respect public opinion?
How do we put an end to this universal folly?
The only way to put an end to this universal folly is to see clearly that it is a folly; and this may be done by recognizing that most of the opinions in people’s heads are apt to be false, perverse, erroneous and absurd, and so in themselves unworthy of attention; further, that other people’s opinions can have very little real influence upon us. It would worry a man to death to hear everything that was said of him, or the tone of which he was spoken of. Honor itself has no direct value.
Doing away with the concept of honor, we would behave with less embarrassment and less restraint. We need to de-domesticate ourselves.
Can we escape having to live constantly in the sight of others and having to pay everlasting regard to their casual opinions?
Can we return upon ourselves?
So, how can we diminish the sadistic pleasure which the conventional at present derive from having the unconventional at their mercy?
Whether it is the arrogant smirk of a TV-news anchor-person or just some strangers who think they have you pegged, there is a sadistic pleasure derived at being in a position to ridicule, harass, or simply slight the unconventional.
Sure, it is easy to say, “Ah, ignore it.”
The newspapers and tv-media have the power to destroy people.
Public opinion works that way too.
Can we escape what others think of us?
Are there not billions of people, not to mention all the other life-forms, just as determined as myself, at this very moment, concerned with their own desires and frustrations? One big ball of sex and death.
I know I have been “a good boy” by not obsessing about certain particular giant elephants, and in the 500 page record book I am filling now, I write the word ‘Jew’ no more than ten times; but I happened to see this in Kant’s Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone while flipping through it last night. I had placed a bookmark at page 116 for when I had a chance to make a note of it.
I will make that note of it now.
“The Jewish faith was, in its original form, a collection of mere statutory laws upon which was established a political organization; for whatever moral additions were appended to it in no way whatever belong to Judaism as such. Judaism is really not a religion at all but merely the union of a number of people who, since they belonged to a particular stock, formed themselves into a commonwealth under purely political laws. That this political organization has a theocracy as its basis does not make it a religious organization.”
Although my mind has expanded and I have learned to program digital computers and my quantitative skills have been developed, I am still very much – in essence – the same deep thinking sensitive being that I have been my entire life, albeit I am much older twenty years later than when I first began writing my secret forbidden thoughts at age thirteen. So, while my story may in fact be interesting to my therapist; and, although I certainly appreciate the education I am receiving/experiencing, I am and have always been this creature-being that is so intrinsically honest that it is impossible for me to be overly impressed with my jumping through hoops or developing technical skills.
A little humor:
I get a call from my cousin. He and his wife ask me when the last time was when I ‘got any’. I responded with, “This afternoon with my own hands – earth-shattering orgasm, as a matter of fact … supreme delight. And you? When is the last time YOU TWO experienced an earth-shattering orgasm?”
This is called “flipping the script.”
Life is a subjective, existential experience. There will never be a film or novel as descriptive and real to life as our own private inner experiences. That is where the drama takes place, after all … within this inner realm. No diary can capture the whole experience. If my personal memoirs and psycho-babble can serve to advance or deepen another’s understanding of themselves, great; but the sole function of all this scribbling and thinking is to enable me to better understand myself, to become comfortable with MY BEING-IN-THE-WORLD, and even to discover how I really think and feel as opposed to how I am expected to think and feel.
The root of the tension seems to exist within me, in my defiant spirit. I possess certain luciferian mental powers which compel me to think for myself. I do not hesitate to question authority. This invites many boos and hisses from those who depend upon such false authority for the false respect it affords them in their positions of authority. Why can’t I just humor them?
It is wonderful, fascinating and disturbing to zoom in on this root of the tensions I experience because these realizations turn the problem inside out. This tension and aggression appear to be a problem or confrontation; but when viewed as a direct consequence of a high degree of mental power, the tension-as-problem becomes tension-as-consequence-of-me-thinking-for-myself. See, the great thing about writing for oneself (thinking for oneself) is that one begins to understand that there are no bad or forbidden thoughts, no bad or forbidden feelings. Maybe some feelings are painful, some bitter-sweet, and some even nightmarish, but since seeing things as they really are requires we face unpleasant facts, an honest thinker is prepared for objectionable conclusions. Even a servile scientist will admit that all experiments yield information, even when those experiments fail. There really are no failed experiments as long as one does not ignore the data, as long as one takes heed of the information gained, even when the outcome is not what one was wishing for.
This is the same basic logic that tells us it is best to know when a significant other doesn’t really care for us. This way we can move on alone rather than to live a lie. It is always best to face reality, no matter how painful, rather than to live in delusion. Disillusionment is a good thing, not a bad thing!
Strange. Professor Uri Eisensweig was very obsessed with writing what is meant, how “words are there forever, so watch what you write.” Funny. I had just sent Professor Doctor Helen Fisher an email about my concerns about my anti-procreation behaviors and attitudes. Dr. Fisher responded to my email, telling me that she did not have time to respond at the moment, but was bringing my letter to Japan. She will reread it, think about it, and respond to my questions. She will discuss them in class as well. She told me that I had a “fine mind.” I basically wonder if some of us choose not to survive. Then it is not survival of the fittest, but something altogether different that survives … survival of the most willing to survive just for survival’s sake. Bingo. Survival is for idiots! Hoo Ha.
I refuse to hold back my pen (or keyboard) for fear that my words are written in stone. The sun itself will expire, and we really are all just so much dust in the wind.
This excerpt interests me because I find it humorous how all the computer architecture and the anthropology was mixing together like so much soup. Add personal philosophy. Shake and mix. Wake and bake.
1. The world is full of shit.
Translation: We lie to ourselves. We lie to each other.
2. Life is creepy.
Translation: The creation itself is a blind accident. The process of evolution by natural selection is all about fucking, hence it appears to be pseudo-blind. What drives this process can be corrupted by societal manipulations. Life is creepy because there are mechanisms and processes that manipulate and compel organisms, driving it with proximate reasons while ultimate reasons for the organism’s behavior remain hidden in the abyss of the unknowable depths.
3. I am we.
Translation: There is no self. There exists thousands of mechanisms and forces within me, i.e. “the organism-as-a-whole-in-environments.” The idea of self, personal identity, ego, etc is a social institution.
Note that while I wrote this “crazy talk” back in 2000, there is currently the work of Metzinger to consider. I will update the footnotes if the crick don’t rise, but now a link will have to do: phantomself.org/metzinger-being-no-one/
At this point I had began writing in expensive European notebooks, all fourteen of which were lost when I abandoned everything to go out West tracking down my nephew (and escaping from denigrating day program I seemed trapped in). While I got the bulk of my writings back, besides the Techgnostic Scribblings series, another 500 page giant green record book is missing (2001, 2002, 2003). So, I am including this excerpt about my cat if only because, when I came across it, it hit me hard. Wild, over a decade later, and I still had some grief left over for that animal. I don’t even really like domesticated cats, but after that cat, well, I can see how someone, even a big gorilla, might get attached.
I authorized to have my cat, Forest, euthanized at 4AM. I had been staying in Mom’s basement for a couple weeks in between semesters at the university, and Forest had went out prowling around 10PM as was his custom, being an “outdoor cat.” At 2AM I heard a strange meow at the basement hatch. I ran up the stairs to let him in. Forest was laying on his side outside the screen door. He dragged himself in with his front legs. he could not walk. His hind legs were paralyzed – limp and numb and cold: no blood flowing … No pulse in his legs!
I tried to get him to walk by placing the good wet food a few feet away. He cried as he could not even walk to the food. From 2AM to 3AM I cried moans of frustration as Forest pleaded to me for help. I could not help him. I went upstairs and tried to wake my mother, even knocking on her bedroom door. Finally, when it looked as though Forest were about to die right there under the sofa, I began to panic. I called my mother’s phone from another phone, urging her to come down into the basement to look at Forest. She had also gotten attached to him as I left him with her while I ventured out to live in the New Brunswick area near university. A diagnosis was needed. I was at my wits end.
Mom immediately agreed that Forest was in serious trouble, so we called Colonial (vet). The answering service directed our call to the doctor’s home. The doctor said that it sounded as though Forest had a clogged artery, that blood was not reaching his hind legs, and that we should rush him to an emergency clinic. So, we scooped the 7 year old feline up into a carrier, not knowing we were driving full speed to his death. Forest was crying for me to help him. He had crawled all the way back to the house – and all I could offer him was a swift overdose of barbiturates. The prognosis was as suspected, clogged arteries. The other option was 3 days of aspirin care with no guarantee that he would ever be able to walk again, and that heart disease would cause recurring blood clots. He would never be able to go outside again.
Well, I looked Forest in the eyes, and while it made me nauseous to give the word, I decided to cure him of the pain he was living. I had my hand on his head as the doctor administered the lethal juice into my beloved cat’s veins. His heart was killed dead. That day, after the sun came up, I carried the cat’s carcass out to the site where I had buried the golden retriever, Ginger, years before. See, we had gotten Forest when he was only 10 weeks old, and the dog, Ginger, well, she mothered him. She taught him how to catch mice and what not. I dug a deep hole near where the canine was buried … something of a pet cemetery, I reckon.
On the walk out to the site, a strong breeze blew, and as the morning sun showered the universe with love, I was overcome by guttural tears and cries, flooded with the gravity of losing my animal friend. There may even has been a slight feeling that I had failed him somehow as a protector, but I let that hubris go. I did what I could, healing him of the pain via euthanization, the same thing I did for Ginger the canine.
I rarely take time to write anything philosophical anymore. We are all better off dead. What more needs to be said?
Again, myself, I am depressed as usual – not so much about the beat down situations my nephew seems to find himself in repeatedly, but actually because I realize that, even though I am doing well scholastically, I am honestly tired of computer science already, and I haven’t even begun a career with it yet!
On a more pleasant note, George Carlin is coming out with another special performance. He warns, “If you are a conservative Christian or a Christian conservative, you might want to skip this one.”
Meanwhile my nephew is in the pits again. He should be used to it by now. I am quite confident that none of this misery comes as a surprise to him as his dark moods have made him a natural philosopher. I too find myself very reflective lately. Is it a surprise to me to find myself discouraged and dejected again? This is the “Rutgers Experience,” is it not? I have chosen this path. I will endure. Fortunately, by age 34, all those childhood fantasies of becoming a rock star vanished and gone, I am better able to get a grip on the dismal reality of having a stomach and a head, of being a body.
The body seems to be crucified by itself. The stomach will eat its own lining in search of particles to devour, and so too does the mind devour itself searching for an exegesis of its hypertrophied consciousness. When our problems aren’t gnawing at us in the twilight, when our problems are not petty but monumental, then we might get an extra dose of courage and strength and adrenalin to pull us through. Or not.
I notice I become more calm upon reflecting that perhaps these are not the best of times to have been born a human being. Then I consider that maybe there never has been a good time to be born a human being. Maybe there has never been a good time to be born anything whatsoever. Maybe having been born is the greatest accident, and nobody wants to admit this to themselves.
Professor Morris told us that if he assigned a textbook for CS431, it would be like the film “Dead Poets Society” where he would have to instruct us to rip many specific pages out of the text. Professor said that most textbooks on Software Engineering suck. He also warned us that finding common meeting times for our group projects would be pure Hell.
I have to admit that I am discouraged. I am going to end up committing suicide before the next diary is full. Is there something inherently wrong with me, or is this a common reaction to university education? I am no longer enthusiastic. I no longer love what I do. And George Harrison warns, “Beware of Darkness … It can hit you …”
I am afraid all this is just not going to work out. Suicide is as tempting for 2003 as it was in 1996 when I was a state slave, as tempting as it was in 1986 when, after graduating from college-prep academy, I just wanted to live in a tent. If this dark mood does not pass, I will have to learn how to just handle feeling this way for life.
As this creature was sitting upright, with pillow under bony buttocks, knees bent, feet flat on bed, back against pillows, reading Operating Systems Design text, there was an insight triggered by what Anthropology professor, Lionel Tiger, said during his lecture/sermon. He had advised us to look into a mirror and ask ourselves about ourselves, “Why does this ape do what it does?”
This gave me an idea for a research paper for the Anthropology class: Why does this ape masturbate?
WARMING THE HEART
In solitude one slithers into a private nook to stimulate oneself until one’s body shudders in orgasmic delight. Native Americans referred to this act as “warming the heart”. There was no shame attached to the act.
What are the roots of the shame associated with bringing oneself to orgasm? Recognizing the sexual impulse as the focus of the biological core of the human organism, one finds a hint as to why taboos against masturbation exist in certain cultures. Whether done spontaneously or methodically, satisfying the sexual impulse by stimulating oneself to orgasm has been interpreted as “outsmarting” a biological mechanism which functions ultimately as a method of reproduction. Orgasmic pleasure functions as a motivational force compelling the organism to copulate. Were we to quantify the intense pleasure experienced in orgasm, this quantity would be of the same magnitude as the importance biological reproduction is in the process of evolution. The species’ survival depends upon coitus. Therefore, orgasm is so indescribably satisfying for reasons transcending the individual.
The fact that masturbation is taboo suggests that bringing oneself to orgasm is or was considered deviant on grounds of morality or as constituting a risk. At the root of the taboo against masturbation is the fear of the consequences of interfering with the primal processes of evolution. This is the ultimate reason for the taboo, and yet the fact that masturbation remains a primary source of sexual pleasure for many people makes one wonder if pleasuring oneself serves an unaccounted for purpose in the larger scheme of human evolution. One also wonders if the shame and guilt associated with solitary masturbation is a cultural phenomenon. In 1994 Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the first woman appointed to the position of U.S. Surgeon General lost her job as Surgeon General because she proposed that masturbation should be taught in schools. This suggests that the masturbation taboo is enforced, not by the wisest elders of the culture, but simply by the dominant culture.
When one reads the writings of John Harvey Kellogg, M.D. from 1891 on “self-abuse”, one suspects he was ignorant of the universal power of the sexual impulse, and that he repressed or lied to himself about his own sexual needs. This short excerpt is from Plain facts for old and young: embracing the natural history and hygiene of organic life.
The worse cases among young women are those in which the disease has advanced so far that erotic thoughts are attended by the same voluptuous sensations that accompany the practice. The author has met many cases of this sort in young women, who acknowledged that the sexual orgasm was thus produced, often several times daily. The author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will-power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control.
In The People’s Common Sense Medical Advisor from 1895, in a section called Spermatorrhea, Dr. R. V. Pierce defines spermatorrhea as the emission of semen without copulation, induced by the habit of masturbation. Ridiculous as the following excerpt may be, against the backdrop of the work done by psychologists such as Carl Jung and Wilhelm Reich, this Dr. Pierce seems to be an example of an individual in the throes of repressing what he is unable to acknowledge about himself. This is how “the dark side of human nature” becomes infused with hidden power. Pierce demonizes the body:
[Spermatorrhea] is one of the evidences that passion, instead of prudence, has held sway. Passion may aptly be termed the voice of the body, by which, if we listen, we are enchanted and led astray.
Conscience is the voice of the soul, which remonstrates, and if we obey, we shall be guided aright. We cannot reconcile these conflicting voices, and if we indulge the passions when conscience forbids gratification, the remembrance of the wrong remains forever, and constant fear is an everlasting punishment.
Since one can only experience the body (as passion from within) subjectively, one can infer that Dr. Pierce has experienced the voice of the body first hand in his own sexuality. Here we behold the classic mind-body dichotomy in full force. The conflict is not between the body and the mind, but between conscious mind and unconscious mind. The conscious represents the ego, the part most directly influenced by taboos, the part we project as our identity. The denied life of the body represents the dark side, the unconscious, the shadow (Conger 1988).
Wilhelm Reich, in The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933), wrote:
Mysticism is nothing other than unconscious longing for orgasm. Clinical experience shows incontestably that religious sentiments result from inhibited sexuality, that the source of mystical excitation is to be sought in inhibited sexual excitation.
Self-sacrifice is an integral part of most major organized religions. Orthodox religions deliberately instill guilt and shame in their adherents, and then perform rituals designed to soothe the sense of damnation. Dr. Albert Ellis believed that if emotional health depends upon acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty, then religiosity may be the unhealthiest state imaginable.
Albert Ellis, currently associated with Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, was one of the first prominent psychologists to point out that masturbation is not harmful, not shameful, and that it is actually beneficial to most people. His first major professional contributions as a psychologist were in the fields of sexology and sex therapy in the 1940’s through the 1960’s. Ellis was also among the first psychologists to challenge the Freudian notion that clitoral orgasm in women was an inferior experience than the so-called vaginal orgasm. Many of his most radical views (in the 1950’s) have now become common sense in the twenty first century. In the Forward to Human Autoerotic Practices, edited by Manfred F. DeMartino, there is a list of about fifty advantages of masturbation that serve as proof that autoeroticism is a major and important part of human behavior. The advantages are divided into four groups: sexual, emotional, healthful, and relationship.
Ellis claims that people can often achieve better sex through resorting to autoerotic practices than they would achieve if they only resorted to interpersonal sexual contacts. People can explore various kinds of self-stimulation and discover which ones are most satisfying for themselves. They can manage to repeat enjoyable arousal and orgasm almost at will, without any restrictions from a sex partner. They can thereby participate in sex more frequently than they are likely to do with other individuals.
Especially if they are females, masturbators may experience more intense and more satisfying arousal and orgasm than is likely with a partner. Males can engage in longer periods of arousal and near-orgasm than they would with partners; hence, they may be able to develop the ability to prolong the duration of their orgasms. For shy individuals with inhibitions about having sex with partners, masturbation may allow them to have a very active sex life despite their inhibitions.
Dr. Ellis also lists emotional advantages of masturbation. Masturbation can help individuals develop a hedonistic philosophy in order to see the value of giving to themselves, and not merely to others. People can use masturbation to gain confidence in their own ability to arouse themselves and bring themselves to orgasm. When people’s lives are filled with few enjoyments and many frustrations, masturbation serves as a frequent pleasure and distraction. It may enhance their lives and make them feel much happier and less depressed. People can use masturbation as a form of self-exploration, to discover exactly what they like or do not like sexually.
A few of the health related advantages listed include the fact that undesirable pregnancy and abortion are avoided, the possibility of acquiring venereal diseases is minimized, and masturbation often leads to relaxed sleeping conditions that aid people’s physical health.
Even though masturbation is a solitary pursuit, there are, paradoxically, even relationship advantages to masturbation. Both partners attain a large degree of freedom and self-satisfaction, which, in turn, helps them tolerate the restrictions of a relationship and have a more loving relationship.
One of the last advantages Ellis lists is interesting with respect to Jungian psychology and the concept of the shadow. People can keep themselves out of trouble by resorting to masturbation. If they could not masturbate, they might be tempted to resort to unethical or criminal behavior. Qualities of the raw human organism that do not fit into the self-image we project get buried in the biological shadow based in our cells. The beast we inherited from our animal ancestors is alive, albeit often beyond the threshold of the conscious mind, beneath the skin, outside the boundaries of our self-image. Embracing masturbation as an act of warming the heart keeps our sexuality out of the shadows. The enthusiastic enjoyment of this very accessible pleasure need not be demonized.
Witnessing a culture go from The Great Masturbation Scare to an enlightened encouragement of autoerotic practices as beneficial to health leads one to question psychiatric authority’s treatments for current mental disorders. Thomas Szasz, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York, is a bold thinker who claimed that masturbation was the ideal mental illness since it is a form of behavior – something people do, not something that happens to them. It is also a form of behavior universal to mankind. Just as we can be fairly certain that priests masturbate (because we know our own subjective experiences of being a body), the authorities knew the subject was masturbating. Not having any clues as to what caused many diseases, that masturbation caused blindness, acne, impotence, insanity, melancholia, and suicide was medical dogma. Physicians knew and people believed that masturbation caused these problems the same way that physicians know and people believe that chemical imbalances cause mental diseases. A representative of the dominant culture diagnoses and treats the patient to cure the disease.
Szasz does not think the diagnosis that masturbation is a disease was a medical mistake. Nocturnal emissions were turned into symptoms of spermatorrhea. Today youthful male rambunctiousness is turned into the symptoms of attention deficit disorder. One hundred years ago, there was a lot of money made treating masturbation-as-disease with a spike-lined ring around the penis. Today, diagnosing attention deficit disorder and prescribing Ritalin are big business. Is it just a coincidence that the “diseases” being “treated” involve pleasure deprivation? After all, while playfulness may not be appropriate in certain social settings, it can hardly be considered an authentic disease any more than masturbation can.
In Ideas On Liberty Dr. Szasz claims that arrogance, not error, is to blame:
Belief in masturbatory insanity and its treatment with castration and clitoridectomy was not an innocent error. This belief – like beliefs in other popular delusions – enhanced the identity and self-concept of the believers. Ostensibly, such beliefs assert facts; actually, they credential believers.
None of psychiatry’s classic mistakes – from masturbatory insanity and its cures, to the attribution of the cause of schizophrenia to reverberating circuits in the frontal lobes and its cure with lobotomy (rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Medicine) – are “innocent” errors. Invariably, the false belief and the medical interventions it appears to justify serves the needs of the believers, especially the relatives of “patients” who seek control over the misbehavior of their “loved ones,” and the physicians who gain prestige and power by “diagnosing” and “treating” misbehavior as if it were disease.
We fool ourselves if we believe that psychiatry’s current popular delusions – such as the chemical causes and cures of depression, schizophrenia, suicide, and so forth – do not fit the same mold.
As mentioned above, there will be some discontinuity in these records at a crucial turning point, the period after graduating with honors from Rutgers University and finding myself back in my mother’s basement, stocking shelves at a grocery store on the graveyard shift for a third of the salary I was earning without the degree. Not only does the loss of that huge record book leave a gap, but the seven volumes of material following it contain virtually nothing but the pathetic rantings of a man caught up in the cyclotron of unrequited romantic infatuation. I had named these notebooks collectively Volumes of the Hex. Maybe I was trying to cast some kind of spell …
The reason why none of that material will make it into these official memoirs is because I imagine Schopenhauer or Cioran looking over my shoulder laughing … Schopenhauer says, “These scribblings sound like the rantings of a man destined for the madhouse!”
And yet … I mean, did Nietzsche ever write about his autoerotic habits? Maybe if Nietzsche would have wrote more fearlessly, he would not have fallen for that “chronic masturbatory insanity” horsecrap his doctor sold him. Maybe I am a bolder thinker than Nietzsche. Maybe I am a more honest writer than Schopenhauer … not as brilliant, for sure, but a little more honest as far as my Shadow goes … So, here goes nothing.
My nephew was in the county jail and I had just quit my job at a local grocery store. This is the point where I decided to apply for social security.
Ms. W_____ from Social Services suggested I report to the psychiatric ward at the hospital, that she has seen me doing better, that I seemed more wired than she had ever seen me. I actually told her, point blank, “I do not consider employment an option anymore. I may have become unemployable due to emotional and behavioral qualities that prevent me from getting along in the work-force.”
How did I go from being a highly valued workhorse to graduating with honors from university and becoming unemployable?
This little excerpt is forcing me to break my vow of not buying anymore books. Soon I will track down a copy of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic.
It is the inner voice which writes. That which is a writer is an inner presence that seeks out the truth of the heart in solitude. The inner realm allows for contradictions – like simultaneously desiring to become emotionally intimate with N while also being fearful of her power to destroy me as an autonomous entity.
Were my heart’s desires to become manifest, I would most likely be emotionally stimulated to the point of hysteria. There would then be a constant sense of urgency, a loss of tranquility. I would become an extension of her. She would absorb me, devour me.
‘I’ is a figure of speech. There is no ground on which to build the idea of self.
It’s like Old Black Mack from Newark tells me, “Everything is some scheme to try to get you to spend money, to be a consumer. Work more to consume more. If you do not consume much at all, if you don’t buy much, you are considered mentally ill.”
I have decided to follow the doctor’s orders and not seek employment at this time in my life due to my unpredictable moods. Yes, unemployed, I will be unable to reach those who are employed because they will resent me for my leisure.
My inner life is very rich. My soul’s journey is really no one else’s business. If I find the business-as-usual work ethic just too much crap to deal with, if I am wise to the greedy little men and their war economy, their military-indistrial-medical prison complex, then I can, with reverence for my own true feelings, choose to live minimalistically while collecting some social security income. Each time I get denied SSI, I will have to appeal.
One long chapter in my life, the chapter in which I graduated from the state university of New Jersey has drawn to a close, and a short chapter after that, where I accept humble employment while looking for a job in the field studied, is now also coming to a close. A new chapter begins a year and a half after graduating: Mom locked me out of the basement which had become my cave, my refuge, my sanctuary … I had quit another job to prevent myself from going off the deep at work when I felt I might go ape-shit in response to the behavior of a few of the knuckle-draggers I was forced to work with. I really was close to throwing a can of dog food at the back of a coworkers head. I took a deep breath, walked into the managers office, and explained that I did not come to work in order to get myself arrested, and that it was best for me to just quit before I ended up doing something I would regret for a long, long time.
He appreciated my honesty. The Mother was not so very appreciative of my sincerity.
By November 3rd, my mother had demanded I vacate her basement. She had the locks changed. I slept in the fields a couple nights before surrendering, i.e., reporting to Social Services for Emergency Assistance.
Yesterday, before leaving Freehold for Asbury Park (New Jersey), my brother-in-law stopped by the 6-12 store. I went in for Fritos. I told the young woman I had been overtly infatuated with for a long time that I would miss seeing her, that I would miss hanging around Downtown Freehold Barrio. I told her that “they” do not want me in Freehold. She asked, “Who?”
“The police y mi madre.”
Some of the local pizanos were in the store. I will miss many people in Downtown Freehold. Maybe some or even just a few will also miss me. Welcome to Asbury Park!
My first night sleeping in room 404 at the Delmonte on First Street I slept soundly even though it was below 50 F degrees in the room. I did not mind. I was so utterly satisfied to be off the cold damp earth. When I got up to piss I noticed the heat control on the wall. I turned up the heat and silently thanked Social Services …
The Asbury Park Public Library is awesome. I love it. It is only one block from the Delmonte. They have Black Elk Speaks, Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up, many of Cioran’s books, books on the life of Marlowe and much more. I am reading Harvard & The Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist. Anton Chase paraphrases Kenniston: “Most of our definitions of mental health are based on what society believes is acceptable behavior. And it would beg the question to call nonconformists mentally unhealthy simply because they rejected social norms. The alienated, moreover, make a virtue, even a fetish, of complete and ruthless honesty with themselves about their most undesirable qualities since awareness and self-understanding are central goals. They lack the desire to put up a good show … to appear normal – a classification they despise.”
The natural process of living involves contact and withdrawal. For the past year I have been obsessed with N – and now, suddenly I am removed from Freehold. Now I am beginning to suspect that The Shadow Self is this secret stranger who is always right there within us just beneath the threshold of consciousness. It would be tragic and pathetic if women believed that their liberation involved acquiring machoism or machismo (male hardness), the worst characteristics of so-called masculinity. The toughness in men and women seems to be developed as a protective shell in order to survive in society’s hostile environments. Toughness is not really strength. Tenderness is not weakness. Toughness becomes a way of life in the corporate world, in the military, in government and the politics of everyday street life.
Tenderness is devalued in this dog-eat-dog world. Tenderness is often ridiculed. The rare and beautiful man is the one whose strength shines through his tenderness. We have difficulty defining strength, tenderness, and love because these are inner qualities. We experience these qualities within ourselves. Inner qualities are difficult to communicate because we live in a society in which so many of us judge ourselves and others by the outward aspects of our lives. Do we even know what our lives are about? If we do know, are we willing to let others know? Do we expect that no one would care to know what we are really about? Are most of us too afraid to stop our mutual charade and take a look at what is going on inside us? It takes time to discover emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves and others. What are our ideas? These ideas are difficult to communicate.
Do we seek approval from outside ourselves? How can we become emotionally independent where our sense of being who and what we are is not at the mercy of those outside us?
The business world is a grotesque carnival. I am leery of those who feel they have to build their body.
A strong handshake may be a sign of weakness. It covers up for a lack of warmth and sensitivity.
It is often said that “real men don’t quit.” I have quit this game. The need for external power must be a reflection of the void the authority-seekers feel in their lives. They worship at the alter of image, a cold and empty idol. It devours the life of any man or woman who bows down to it.
I slept all day after taking medication for the first day since well before Halloween. I awoke depressed. How about that? Remember Levin’s This Perfect Day about resistance to medication. Also remember Colin Wilson’s The Mind Parasites where there is a conspiracy to get activists and serious thinkers to commit suicide via psychic dictatorship.
A Mexican-American whose son was killed in Iraq was urging Latinos in the United States NOT to join the military, to seek books and education.
1PM I feel good because I have a plan that does not include freezing to death running down the railroad tracks away from Freehold Boro Police.
Later … by 7PM I got stopped by 2 patrol cars, 3 officers, while walking the railroad tracks back from the fields toward town. They told me they had gotten many complaints. Complaints about what? Singing in the woods? I showed tham my ID while explaining that I lived in Freehold since I was 4 years old, and that even when I am not living here, I still pass through every now and again since, well … just because. Meanwhile I was thinking to myself, “I’m the fucking ghost of Tom Joad.”
Look, John Brown murdered slave owners in the process of freeing Africans in chains in North America. He was put to death by the state for treason. If what John Brown did is considered treason against the United States of America, then treason seems to have the moral high ground here.
An excerpt from Alston Chase’s Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist from chapter 20, “Nightmares About Psychologists” : “Kaczynski had discovered just how much knowledge and learning can isolate, how they can cut a person off from others. The more one knows about something, the fewer people there are with whom one can share one’s thoughts. He had conquered a field of mathematics so narrow that only a handful of geniuses around the world could appreciate what he had done. And where was the satisfaction in such an obscure victory?”
In September 1998, Ted Kaczynski wrote a letter to Alston Chase, saying, “I suspect that you understand the strength and depth of feeling against industrial civilization that has been developing in recent years. I’ve been surprised at some of the things that people have written to me. It looks to me as if our society is moving into a pre-revolutionary situation.”
“The majority of people are pessimistic or cynical about existing institutions, there is wide-spread alienation and directionlessness among young people … Perhaps all that is needed is to give these forces appropriate organization and direction.”
Blake said that every true poet, wittingly or unwittingly, is on the devil’s side.
The sense of love actually first appears in literature as unrequitted passion. Love is a sense of need rather than fulfillment: a brooding introspective passion, somber, raging. Octavio Paz says that “Love is not sexual freedom, but the freedom to feel passion: not the right to perform a physiological act but the right to freely choose to be intoxicated.
Automatic Writing is the modern equivalent to Buddhist meditation.
Breton made no distinction between magic and poetry. Poetry is a force, an energy capable of changing reality.
Impassioned heart, disguise your sorrow. – popular song
In The Savage and Beautiful Country, Alan McGlashan writes, “What is sought is not some flamboyant new form of consciousness that will seize men’s minds and revolutionize the world, but an almost imperceptible inner change – a willed suspension of conventional judgments, a poised awareness, a stillness in which the long-smothered voices [that] speak the language of the soul can be heard again.”
“It is a quiet secret; but do not be mislead by this.”
“For it is also a terrible secret. The inner life of the mind has its nightmares, as well as its golden dreams and wayward fancies. To become purely receptive, to create an inner silence, is to unlock a dangerous door, opening upon a world from which faint hearts would do wisely to keep away. It is to set out on a solitary journey whose end is still unsure.”
The Greeks understood tragedy as “transformation through suffering”. Carl Jung emphasized the positive value of suffering in his writings summing up his philosophy of therapy with words worth pondering:
We do not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.
1. Flying High Again, Here We Go Now
I am approaching the doors of the 6-12 in Freehold. I kick through the doors, leap to the floor and sliver rapidly as a snake. I feel my body slithering very fast to the back of the store, and around a corner, but as I am about to enter the back room, I stop abruptly, stand upright as a man, and I am in front of the Deli Center looking at N. No one seems to have noticed me kicking through the doors as though my body were hurled in as a rock. No one notices that a large snake just slithered rapidly around the floor and turned into a man. At first sight of N, my heart is on fire. I moan aloud, N smirks, knowing from the sounds I make that I am goo-goo ga-ga for her. I don’t hink we speak, but my heart feels the fever because she is kind to me.
Then I step outside and there is a fairly attractive girl sweeping the parking lot. Hoping N is watching me, I leap into the air and soar over telephone poles and over the Freehold Boro Center bus station, landing gracefully on my feet. Amazed and dimly aware I am in the dreamscape, I run back to the 6-12 (outside the doors) and then, again – this time sure that N is watching me – I run a few steps and fly even higher into the sky, this time screaming a war cry. This time I land with tremendous yet calculated force upon the roof of the store that sells bus tickets.
N appears to have followed me, climbing on to the roof with me. I help her to climb down, physically touching her with great care and gentleness, seeing her eyes wide open with excitement once again fills my heart with the fever. I hug her tight and kiss her shoulders and neck. She hugs me too. I walk her back to the 6-12, but now it is after midnight, and at the sight of her boss waiting for her in his SUV to take her home, N becomes agitated. She is suddenly angry with me, and in her haste to get into her boss’s vehicle, she drops an elaborate neckless that appears to be Native American. I pick it up and run to the vehicle to return it, but she yells at me, telling me that I have shamed her. She tells me to keep the neckless, and I become confused.
I watch the SUV drive out of view. As I walk down Broad Street, I see several Mexican mailes in traditional clothing, but it is not sombreros or “Chicano-style” clothes. It is closer to traditional Native American, Apache-like. Each has feathers and similar necklaces as N had dropped. I tell them that I am curious about the traditional clothing. I ask, “Is that traditional Apache, Navaho, Utes, or Pueblo?”
They only respond, “Yes …” with smiles.
2. I enter a small apartment looking for a “LIVE” Gort Buster Gathering, but there is only one person in there besides the mysterious figure laying down on a cot who later in the dream turns out to be “The Aborigine.” He is smoking a pipe, grinning, and making some sarcastic remark about how strange life is becoming. I am somewhat conscious that this is the dreamscape, and even in dreamtime, seeing The Aborigine is as rare an event as defying gravity, both of which occur in this series of dreams.
The Aborigine has exotic animals in his room, one, a colorful lizard-like eguana startles me, and I drop N’s necklace, which breaks. Here there is continuity with dream events which seem to be seperate. I still had the necklace from a previous dream event. It is all one dream event! Then a large cat with a dog’s snout approaches me, looks at me, holds up a claw as if to say, “Wait one moment, please. I’ll be right with you,” then it proceeds to shit onto some paper on the sofa! It laughs when it’s done.
3. Then I am driving an uninsured Volkswagen to a corner where there is a sofa. I park the VW and curl up on the sofa (outdoors) to sleep. When the sun comes up (from within dreamtime), a front-end loader driven by a Mexican pulls up to where I am sleeping. My mother is in the bucket of the front-end loader. She wants me to ride in the bucket with her, but I choose to drive the uninsured Volkswagen. When we get to my mother’s house (at the time of this dream I was pretty much banned from here since all my books, clothes, computers, drums, music, etc. were stored there, and Mom did not want me “planting myself” there), and Mom has a so-called new male companion there with her.
In the dream the so-called new man is not new at all, but a big x-Marine jackass she dated a decade ago. I taunt him, knocking over his bottle of booze, talking sideways out of the corner of my mouth, cursing him under my breath but just loud enough to be heard. There is a violent tension between us. He leaves the room for less than a minute, but in that time my mother and I embrace. We hug for what feels like a long time. My mother has her usual ash-blond hair, her blue eyes, and her usual waking appearance, but as I am holdiong her, I notice now her back is black-skinned. Suddenly, before my eyes, Mom metamorphizes into a black woman, and I become sexually and emotionally stimulated.
When x-Marine dickhead returns, the black woman transforms back into my mother again. I look at her male concubine in his eyes. He is a very large man. Myself, I am 135 pounds, wired and wiry. We both are fuming. I knock his bottle over again and watch as the contents spill onto my mother’s new dresser. I then walk down into the basement where all by books and computers are, where all my old journals/scribblings are stored at the time of dreaming this. I grab a tomahawk and wait to be confronted. Sure enough, the x-Marine comes down the stairs drunk and arrogant. He is carrying a large axe. I am preparing to lodge the little tomahawk into his skull.
I wake up, and as I am coming to consciousness, I see the face of my sister (larger than in real life) floating before me, looking into my eyes with sympathy.
I had been moved from the Delmonte in Asbury Park to a group home in Red Bank called Habcore where I was required to attend a “day program” – CPC Behavioral Healthcare. I have come to the conclusion very early on that the day program is a complete waste of time. Not only is the van ride sickening (the driver operates the van like a maniac and they pack 13 of us on the van like so many sacks of potatoes), but the program itself is just ridiculous. I feel like fuel for someone else’s fire. The staff is arrogant, as if none of us have a say in ending treatment here since our “shelter” is dependent upon us submitting to “the program.” Come on, Mikey, get with the fuckin’ program. I like Habcore, especially one female staff member, but this requirement to attend day jail program is trying my patience. What do I have to do in order to keep myself from getting so pissed off that I end up erupting and ending up in a psychiatric hospital or worse?
As far as group home HABCORE goes, I am getting very tired of being treated like a needy helpless child here. I hate this lack of access to food where we are depending on staff to feed us, and some of the portions we are served for lunch makes me think some of the staff gets off on degrading us. When here in the day, besides going to the library, I will hit the Lunch Break Soup Kitchen which offers great dinners for lunch daily.
Where will I go from here? How does one go about applying for rental assistance (Section 8)?
Rage level increasing – I had to walk last night just to go somewhere to have privacy, to allow warm tears to burn down my face as I held my hands up to the sky.
I woke up late, calmly showered, “missed” the van ride to CPC day program, put on coffee, and will continue notes For Madmen Only. I am in a state of revolt. I don’t want to go to the stupid day program. When I do attend, I am coerced into an environment where I am constantly restrained. I am processing the mental anguish, the mind rape.
I was confronted by the manager here at HABCORE group home about the staff’s observations of my general hostility and complaining. He did not ask me if I was unhappy here, but made the statement, “So, I hear you’re not a happy camper here.”
I told him that I wish to resign from the “day program” CPC in Aberdeen, that the entire process, from getting loaded into the van in the morning to the chaos and confusion in the groups that deal with problems generated by the day program itself to the dreaded ride back to the “refugee camp.” All in all, a hall of mirrors draining our energy. So, I was going to go to the program to inquire into exactly how to go about resigning, but, since I was running a little late, I decided to make coffee and work on this resignation process from Camp Habcore.
Doing research on gortbusters.org, I came across some news about a huge conspiracy/campaign involving psychiatric medication. I will continue to be noncompliant in my own best interests. I may use the documents I found as proof so as to more confidently confront individual psychiatrists. What I am up against consumes my mental energies. I am up against the Mind Parasites, and, unless I meet a woman as revolutionary as myself, I had just better get used to being a lone wolf.
The head manager in charge confronted me about my behavior – supposed intoxication. He asked me to take a seat. I said I prefer standing. He asked me to explain myself, telling me people have “slipped up” before and not gotten thrown out. I said, “I would prefer to leave – I don’t want to live like this.”
When we meet with a social worker, we will discuss my next move. I don’t want another boarding home or group shelter. I prefer a cheap motel room where I can drink a few beers without worrying about being dragged away by police. Even it meals become problematic, I’ll take my chances with food insecurity. We’ll see what happens. I can feel myself slipping away. I don’t want want to be saved. So, even though I was given three distinct chances to stay at Habcore, if I would just submit, repent, confess, I chose to stand in my sacred defiance. I will continue to wean myself from needing approval from others, especially those in positions of authority who believe they have me at their mercy.
Changes Since November 2003
I had stopped taking psychiatric medication in Asbury Park because I was drinking beer every chance I got. When I got moved into Habcore in Red Bank, I went back on psychiatric medication in an attempt to adjust to schedules while living in such a regimented environment. Why had I gone back on medications in the first place? I was in a psychiatric ward, and when I got out, my mother told me I had to get back on psychiatric medication or I would not be permitted to stay in her basement. I went back on the meds, but The Mother told me to leave for other reasons. Now, I no longer have much faith in psychiatric diagnoses in general. I no longer accept the “treatment” prescribed. Psychiatric medications have done nothing but dry out my teeth and dehydrate me. Is it so surprising that I lack faith in the professionals?
Tenderness no longer do I pine. All my so-called failures have only pushed me into becoming a living bohemian. I have become so passionate about killing the gort within the control panel of my conscious awareness that I can’t see how I would ever be able to act and behave in a manner that would be suitable for earning a decent living in New Jersey.
Yesterday I slept in the woods in Freehold, setting a small fire to stay warm. I slept on sticks. When I got cold, I slept under the bridge. I found a blanket and slept from 0300 to 0500 before going into town to get coffee at the 6-12. I caught a bus to Asbury Park and slept on the beach until 10AM, then walked to the Delmonte. I ate at the Saturday lunch at the Trinity. It felt good to sit with the people.
When I returned to Red Bank, talking to a young woman at Habcore, I told her, “I have to leave. I’ve been evicted for pissing on the wall. I could write a book.”
The young woman replied, “You ARE writing a book. I see you writing in your notebook all the time.”
I said, “I know.”
A new chapter had begun when I left the group home. Now I am in the Flame Motel in Farmingdale, just a two and a half hour walk from Freehold Barrio. Will I walk? When will I walk? I can reapply for foodstamps now that I have to feed myself again … out here kind of in No-man’s Land. Blisters are coming soon to feet near me.
Something I heard from Arundhati Roy inspires me: “Our strategy should not only be to confront empire, but to lay seige to it, to deprive it of oxygen, to shame it, to mock it, with our art, with our music, with our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories – stories that are different from the ones we’re brainwashed to believe. We be many and they be few.”
The awareness of existential futility represents the sole weapon against theological and ideological deleriums. Cioran said that both Christ and the Buddha are masters of illusion for their doctrines protect the ruling class from the wrath of the underclass.
A social worker inquired about how I was coping with the loneliness and isolation way out here in the Flame Motel, stranded with no funds. I said that I experience the pain but that I break through the pain into a state of mind very liberating: Mental Freedom. I am rereading The Catcher in the Rye for the first time in decades. I laughed aloud while reading the first lines: If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
I admit I am very confused, but it has taken much mental discipline to at least become sincerely confused. I am alive with confusion rather than lulled into a false sense of security. Strength does not live on the outside of life. It lives within life, and it moves from within life. The business world is a grotesque carnival.
However immeasurable and massive the universe may be, its existence hangs nevertheless on a single thread; and this thread is the actual consciousness in which it exists. This condition marks the universe with the stamp of ideality, in spite of all empirical reality. The world, the universe, our physicality itself, must be recognized as akin to a dream if not in the same class with a dream. I know this is pure Schopenhauer but it bears repeating in my own private records because it is this quality of contemplation which hinges my ability to think coherently. The same brain function that conjures up a perceptible world during sleep also presents the objective world of wakefulness. The world within – the source of the self-limiting distortions – is every bit as infinite and vast as that seen when one beholds the cosmos on clear nights.
The day laborer or welfare “bum” has just as vast an interior universe as prince, king, priest, rabbi, CEO, nuclear physicist or rock star celebrity. In fact, all animal life shares this interior life; and when we become conscious of this fact, we are on our way to walking a path of respect, perhaps even moving about in a sacred manner.
The Aborigine of Gort Busters tells us that the landscape in need of saving, and perhaps the only one we can rightly claim to have any control over, is the landscape between our ears.
Just as the character in Vonnegut’s Hocus Pocus was not at first fully aware that his notes comprised the makings of a book, neither have I been fully aware that my notebooks (diaries) are, for the most part “the book” – my life’s work, my manifesto, my “Confessions,” my “Meditations.”
I witness first hand the process by which one becomes unemployable. By now I have an attitude of defiance and rebelliousness. Were I to secretly look for work, I might be able to escape my current predicament: we call it economic house arrest. At this point I consider just how much of an outsider I have become. How will I make a living in a society I am so at odds with? Maybe I will become something of a misanthropic founder of a new religion where we beg for change so as to catch a booze buzz. We could call the religion Alcoholism.
A classic statement by The Aborigine of Gort Busters, 2004, twenty years after I sat in Myths, Dreams, and Cultures:
“A few of the princes live well, while most, of course, labor away in the Taker prison, as the Taker prison continues to crumble. Let’s not even talk about the genocide, desertification, starvation, lack of medical aid, pollution, the now-confirmed melting ice caps, or even the oncoming Great Depression of the 21st Century, wherein even the princes are losing their retirement nest eggs. Let’s start with the half-million children in Iraq who died over the last decade so that the princes could get more energy for their blow-dryers and their SUVs.’
“Yea, we’re doing great. I can’t wait to go live in your world. Maybe if I’m lucky, they’ll let me live in New Jersey. If I’m really lucky, I’ve have the opportunity to mandatorily corral large groups of disaffected, disgruntled teenagers into cinder block cubes where they’ll be force-fed pronouns, pre-packaged history lessons and Pythagora’s theory so that they can forget all of it in a year or two as they get flushed into the work-a-day world, where they will submit 30% to 50% OF THEIR TAX MONEY TO FINANCE A WAR ECONOMY DEDICATED TO STUFFING MOST OF THE GORTS INTO SNEAKER FACTORIES AND UNEMPLOYMENT LINES SO THAT THE PRINCES CAN ‘DO PRETTY GOOD’.”
Individuals have international duties, if not cosmic responsibilities, which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore, [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.~ From Nuremburg War Crime Tribunal, 1950
One has to learn to relax, or one becomes overwrought and dangerous. We must learn to contact our own deepest levels in order to re-energize our consciousness. Phenomenology is just another name for self-observation. Husserl talks about “uncovering the strructure of consciousness.” This is about descending into these realms of mental habit. Husserl had realized that while we have ordinance survey maps that cover every inch of the earth, we have no atlas of our mental world. What is the geography of consciousness?
Colin Wilson’s fictional “mind parasites” drain man’s lifeblood without his being aware of it. A man who defeats the mind parasites becomes doubly dangerous to them, for his forces of self-renewal have conquered. In such cases the mind parasites will attempt to destroy a man in another way – by trying to influence other people against him. We should remember that Beethoven’s death came aabout becuase he left his siter’s house after a rather curious quarrel, and drove several miles in an open cart in the rain.
Who is Tom Brown Jr. to warn a “subculture of social parasites” against “abusing” free food pantries?
The Aborigine pointed out that the greatest thinkers always seem to reject or transcend their teachers, citing Carl Jung’s transcendence of Sigmund Freud. I do not reject or transcend The Aborigine. I merely move into a darker dimension.
I get depressed and confused – and I become irritable; I feel slighted, disgraced, conspired against, black-listed. Early in October I suffered a collapsed lung after a psychotic episode with the Freehold Barrio Police in which I was hog-tied and stomped on with State-issued boots.
I witness three officers handle a large drunk man very gently. They empty his bottle as they speak to him face to face. He was not arrested. He headed home on foot, I guess. Myself, a mere 135 pounds, not carrying any alcohol, there were seven officers who surrounded me to tackle me, hog-tie me, and stomp on my back, collapsing my lung. This had been witnessed by a large crowd of people at the bus station as the Free Friday Meal had just let out. Why was I handled so roughly? Because I kicked open the door of the patrol car? Why was I being subdued in the first place? Because I was ranting? What kind of dark energies were radiating from me that would invite such a zoo-keeper capture?
Racing thoughts of the court room and the judge. Do I tremble before the lord? All I can do now is pace around in the woods out behind this welfare motel or else stay inside writing in the sacred solitude. What kind of creature am I? Why does this ape do what it does? We become what we do.
And while a million people in Southeast Asia are left to struggle through death and disease, there are addicts all over the world having tantrums and fits over not acquiring their fixes: fixes for this, fixes for that … oil for machines … oil for big agrifarms … oil for carrots? Whether it is crack cocaine or fuel for a motor vehicle, does one not experience some shame upon catching oneself in the merciless grip of NEEDINESS?
I suffer from mental weariness. While I don’t forsee myself committing suicide, I do desire to die in my sleep. Each night when I lay down to sleep, I imagine not waking up. This eventually brings me enough peace of mind and relaxation that I do fall asleep.
Nito C___ y su hermanos y su hermana are really using the computer mi sobrino gave them. I am proud to have installed Derive, 2000 years of mathematical knowledge in the software, onto the hard-drive besides some games. I personally understand just how awe-inspiring that software can be, and I am inspired by Nito’s genuinely heartfelt interest in Algebra and in learning how to utilize Derive step by step in solving problems.
There are people in my life who give meaning and purpose to my being stranded out here at the Flame Motel on welfare emergency assistance. I think N would be proud of me were she to witness the C___ Hermanos laughing wildly in the room after doing all five’s mathematics homework together. I began to consider the politics of me becoming a high school math teacher in Freehold or Neptune/Asbury. Todd told Alexis, the middle son, that he would be wise to “use Mike as a teacher” as much as possible since “he won’t be at the motel forever.”
So, at least something very meaningful is coming from our journey through welfare. Nito, Angel, Alexis, Hector, and even Christian are utilizing me for my knowledge of and comfort with mathematics. i put in a few hours teaching each day, and this motivates me to hold off on alcoholic inebriation as my clear-headedness is depended upon by my young brothers, my young hermanos. Alexis calls me his maestro.
“The only thing the young should be taught is that there is virtually nothing to be hoped for in life. One dreams of a Catalogue of Disappointments which would include all the disillusionments reserved for each and every one of us, to be posted in the schools.” ~ Cioran
The dark image of a sinister, aggressive, predatory, and militarized Germany only became prevalent in this present century. Before this, it was plausible to present the German as an impractical, dreamy, sentimental beig, looking out with mild blue eyes into a cloud of music and metaphysics and tobacco smoke.
Stael portrayed (for the Napoleonic French of the early 19th century) a Germany utterly unlike the grotesque image later drawn by the Allied propagandists of the two World Wars. Stael’s Germans were a nation of “Poets and Thinkers,” a people of kindly, impractical, other-worldly dreamers without national prejudices, and, strangley, in the light of later propaganda, “disinclined to war,” kind of like Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Robert M. Pirsig, or even myself, for that matter.
The people in the public relations industry aren’t there for the fun of it. They are trying to instill consumerist values. Those who wish to control the population want us sitting alone in front of the TV and having drilled into our heads the message which says, “THE ONLY VALUE IN LIFE IS TO HAVE MORE COMMODITIES OR LIVE LIKE THAT RICH MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY YOU’RE WATCHING ON THE TUBE.”
That’s all there is to life. You may think that there’s got to be something more in life than this, but since you are watching TV alone, you assume you must be crazy for finding what is portrayed so empty and shallow.
It is crucial to have a place to articulate our sentiments, even if just a diary-notebook, even if just a message board, even if we are only talking to the birds and the wind. As long as people are marginalized and distracted and have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even a place to witness others with similar sentiments, people as individuals will assume they are the only ones with these crazy ideas in their heads. They will then be vulnerable to being coerced, manipulated, coralled; they are then vulnerable to having their energies drained. It’s as if those who own the media outlets want people who think to see themselves as weird. If there is no way to get together with other people who reinforce your views or to help you articulate your views, you will feel like an oddball, a freak.
And this is my diary. This is where I articulate my thoughts. If I can put just a fraction of my diary material on to the Internet, others like me may discover that they are not alone. Some of us share the same kinds of thoughts, as did writers such as Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces), and others. We then reinforce our thoughts and develop the confidence to discover what we actually think and how we really feel. When people are no longer just glued to the TV, all these funny thoughts start arising in their heads, like “sickly inhibitions against using military force.” The businessmen running things want to see this overcome, but they will not overcome it. I will be on guard against the tricks mental health professionals play. I have a sense of how they go about undermining our confidence in our own thinking.
Using my imagination, I consider the possibility that Colin Wilson’s science-fiction novel, The Mind Parasites, is on to something when he suggests there are “mind parasites” attempting to drive certain individuals to suicide precisely because such individuals represent a potential threat to social control. We are conditioned to believe we are utterly insignificant, but the reality is that we are the presence of intelligence in a world controlled by ignorance and fear. Sometimes I sense I create tension just by walking around in my hometown. Is it because I cross unspoken boundaries? Is it because I am a living contradiction smashing stereotypes?
My philosophy will be explored by going back to my earlier scribblings and finding those parts where I express an aching desire to be liberated from the confines of everyday reality.
Dream Recall: Kissed by N?
Was it Chicana N or woman from India? I can’t really tell by the images, but my feelings tell me it was N.
I am doing some kind of manual labor inside, but I keep going outside, and it is very windy. It is all I can do just to move or to keep the old blanket I am drying from being tor to pieces. A woman who appears to be N as well as a few other equally beautiful bronze-skinned black-haired women are out there in the wind with me. I am jabbering on to them about how the winds are ripping apart the old blanket the way the cold winds rip at a tired elderly person who can, after all, only suffer so many winters before one winter they succumb to death. On my way back indoors where we were working, I am holding N from behind. I am snuggled up close to her. She kisses my arm tenderly, and I kiss her neck softly.
In that intimate moment, an Asian Indian businessman gives us both a dirty look, as though he were offended by our affection for one another. I awaken caught up in the EMOTIONS the dream brought forth in me, and I actually feel (physiologically) as though I were just holding N close to me. Then I realize that today is the day I move into the apartment in Matawan. The rains are heavy outside, but I am not concerned.
Living in an apartment on rental assistance without the burden of reporting to an employer/supervisor, without all the monkey-business politics involved in holding down a job, offers me a rare opportunity to think and reflect upon the contents of my own mind rather than on a list of tasks to be completed, i.e, someone else’s agenda. I am suddenly free to follow my bliss and focus on my own personal agenda, something I often did even while employed, which caused those paid to manage me (to limit my freedom) much grief.
I can rise slowly, record dreams, drink coffee, eat a hearty breakfast slowly without the internal pressures and invisible chains. I can even do a little reading, walking outdoors, and, should the mood strike me, some writing/scribbling, i.e., compiling the records of a Steppenwolf. A writing project may help prevent me from wasting my days away in alcoholic oblivion.
In Daniel Quinn’s The Story of B, the protagonist keeps a diary. In fact, the story begins with him purchasing a basic composition book. He keeps records. In Zamyatin’s We, the inspiration fro Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, Vonnegut’s Player Piano, Levin’s This Perfect Day, and others, the protagonist is simply writing in a diary. The reader witnesses the inner transformations as the protagonist fails to keep up the farce of his society. What his society views as “failures” and “mistakes,” the reader understands as great victories for the inner insurrection occurring.
I was reflecting upon just what a solitary creature I am, and I even suspect that my current situation (living with rental assistance while living on government relief) will lead me even deeper into isolation. If all I do is read, write, and contemplate, people may accuse me of “doing nothing productive;” and, yet, it is a revolutionary way to live in a society obsessed with activity. I will become so consumed in contemplation that I will effectively break the system’s control over me. Is this realistic? I what I experience is passive despair, then this is what it is. There really is no need to have behavioral health therapists poking around labeling my traits as symptoms of disease. Getting through lonely days will make me stronger. Coping with loneliness and anxiety by “attending 12 Step Recovery Group Meetings” would PREVENT me from developing this strength.
I am the living protagonist of the living novel, where the main character is a solitary thinker who, after some trouble with local law enforcement authorities and loss of his position as janitor with the State, even after returning to university and doing rather well, finds himself depending on the State for financial assistance to attain the basics (food and shelter) in this machine age world he finds so objectionable. He spends his days thinking, writing, and speaking subversive thoughts. He communicates on the Internet with a handful of other misfits, rebels, geniuses, and outsiders around the Industrialized World. This gives him the validation he needs to continue to “protect his spirit” from those in positions of authority who may sometimes attempt to fill him with doubt, make him feel powerless or overwhelmed, and generally “break his spirit.” He resists. He continues to think for himself with great confidence.
Even during some of the “therapeutic communities” he is required to attend in order to continue to receive rental assistance, he is able to gain insights by reading between the lines and remaining stubbornly alert. A woman in one of the therapy groups was telling the group how she used think the CIA was after her, that her writings would have an impact on the world, and that she was a part of an international movement of independent thinkers who were challenging the “rulers and their lapdog managers/engineers.” Once she was diagnosed as bipolar, she wrote these ideas off as psychotic delusions. What the protagonist (me) was wondering while sitting there in his chair made him realize that the mind-control conditioning was not working on him. He wondered if she secretly felt the validity of her original premonitions and was simply saying what she knew the therapists wanted to hear. Can one’s intuitions and premonitions be so easily written off with a psychiatric diagnosis?
Isolation is seem as a symptom of some kind of anti-social disorder. Why have many of the great philosophers and thinkers been predominantly solitary? Why are some of us wired differently? Do most people prefer solitude as well and we just don’t realize this? It is said “conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.” Are all solitary individuals considered unhealthy or odd by those who cling to groups, clubs, churches? I am endowed with a natural disposition to repose. My love of study supplies each day, each hour, with a perpetual source of independent pleasure.
During the night, the Matawan police came to my door on two separate occasions. The first time my music was very loud, and I was warned that if they had to come back again I would be getting a summons. Around 05:00AM I had music coming from my computer speakers, and the police returned. Someone had called and complained about hearing “Midnight Train To Georgia” – and yet, the music was not loud. Imagine that. The computer speakers brought the police to the door. I find this disturbing. Someone doesn’t want me to make a peep.
There are so many false dichotomies: mind/body, emotion/reason, good/evil, human/gort, animal/human, left/right, Democrat/Republican, etc. Being conscious of a “third force” is the refusal to choose between two supposedly opposite, but really equal, polarities that try to define themselves as the totality of a situation. This consciousness is expressed by the person who is brought to trial for armed robbery and asked, “Do you plead guilty or not guilty?”
“I am unemployed” is the reply.
A more theoretical example is the refusal to acknowledge any essential difference between the corporate-capitalist ruling classes of “the West” and the corporate-state ruling classes of “the East.” The social relations of production in USA/Europe can’t be too much different than they are in Russia/China. We are constantly being asked to choose between two sides in a false conflict in order to distract us from living in the present. We are presented choices that are no choice at all (like choosing between two war mongering imperialists for presidency). We are given the illusion of choice, but as long as they control the choices, they also control the outcome. Under the current global system (the Industrial World, the Machine Age), we, as individuals, are as locked into our roles as exploiters/consumers as others in starving countries are locked into their roles as exploited/producer.
H.G Wells was not optimistic about the future. He believed that power and injustice was in a position to perpetuate itself indefinitely with the new tools created for it by the physical and psychological sciences. He believed that advances in the control of matter would be paralleled by new technologies in controlling man, both as an individual and as a member of a group. H.G. Wells predicted that the 20th century would be a welter of merciless wars, and that the wars would be followed by an increasingly oppressive capitalism, in which giant trusts would unify the world by literally buying most of mankind. He saw that politicians would be “bosses”, political bosses who would deliberately keep the people of servitor continents in jungle savagery, and would herd the people of America and Europe into giant cities. Most of the world would consist of blue-canvas-clad proletariat, who would be governed by the police rules of the Labor Company. Great advances would be privately owned, and would be used to maintain the ruler class in power.
Scientific advances would be appropriated by a ruling class and used for human engineering. Are we not living in such times as Wells had imagined?
In a large prison-like environment, what seems to be me is screaming loudly while someone in authority is yelling in my direction, “He’s one of the instigators,” pointing in my direction. There is a lot of commotion, and I sense I am in the parallel universe on “The Other Side.” A large black guard screams out, “There’s one of the leaders!” He takes aim at me with a rifle and fires one shot. I wake up.
I awaken with a great weapon: Radical Phenomenology – an underground non-academic, non-professional depth philosophy which helps me sort out my beautiful and deranged passions. Also, I will not limit myself in my thinking. No forbidden thoughts. Nietzsche said that “God is dead.” I agree. I will add to this that Man-as-Idea is dead. Man and God are myths. I am ape. We are 100% ape. I’m a beat philosopher.
When the fossil of Australopithicus ramidus was discovered in 1994, those fossils could have just as accurately been linked to a species called Pan ramidus instead. Regardless of the often dogmatic nature of scientific categories, I have made a mental note of this variation, and in the privacy of my own mind, as a thought experiment, have secretly tweaked the Primate family tree ever so slightly. Make the family Hominidae a species of chimpanzee. Take the family Hominidae branching off super-family Hominoidea, and have it branching off as a species of genus Pan, which branches off family Pongidae. Hence, Homo sapiens sapiens, as a result, would be Pan sapiens sapiens, and our place in the Animal Kingdom would make the similar patterns of male-bonded group violence shared by chimpanzees and humans trivial rather than extraordinary.
Pan sapien sapien.